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Migraine & Headache Category

Finding Migraine Relief with Acupuncture

June 3rd, 2020

Acupuncture is an ancient therapeutic practice based on traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that originated in Asia thousands of years ago. Archeological evidence has revealed clues about how people in the Stone Age – a period that began about 2.6 million years ago and lasted until about 3300 BCE – used sharp stones and other tools to puncture and drain abscesses to relieve pain. But it wasn’t until the Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), that the foundations of modern acupuncture were recorded for the first time.

acupuncture

The theory behind TCM is that a person’s qi or vital energy has to flow freely through the body to achieve physical and mental balance. According to TCM, an imbalanced qi can cause disease. The goal of acupuncture is to trigger specific points on the skin with needles to access and influence different nerves, tissues, glands, and organs in the body to help rebalance the qi.

Western interest in acupuncture began to gain traction in the 1970s after President Nixon’s visit to China. Nowadays, acupuncture is one of the most researched traditional medicine systems, and results from a growing number of studies have shown that this practice may help ease some types of chronic pain like osteoarthritis, neck pain, and migraine headaches. Western medical acupuncture borrows from some of the same principles of TCM – like the use of needles and the trigger points suggested by traditional acupuncturists – but uses a more scientific approach to study the biological effects that this practice has on the body.

Acupuncture and Migraines

Most of the studies that have been conducted to date on migraine headaches and acupuncture have looked at the preventive rather than the palliative effects of this therapeutic approach. In 2016, an updated systematic review looking at 22 clinical trials with a total of nearly 5,000 participants was published in the Cochrane Library.

 Studying the effects of acupuncture in migraine patients is not always easy. To make sure that results are not biased, researchers do something called “double-blinding” where they assign participants to random groups and compare the treatment cohort to a placebo group. In double-blind studies, neither the participant nor the researcher knows who is receiving which intervention. In most trials, investigators use sugar pills or inactive substances to act as placebos, but it can be harder to find a placebo that mimics the sensations of acupuncture.

For the systematic review, the authors included three types of testing criteria: comparison with no acupuncture, comparison with sham acupuncture, and comparison with a treatment to prevent migraines. Sham acupuncture is a research method where needles are inserted less deeply or in areas of the body away from traditional acupuncture trigger points. The goal of sham acupuncture is that the participants feel that they are receiving the treatment without actually getting the effects of real acupuncture.

The results of the review suggest that acupuncture reduces the frequency of episodic migraine headaches and is at least as effective as prophylactic medications at preventing migraine headaches. Acupuncture was associated with a reduction in headache frequency in comparison to both no acupuncture and sham acupuncture. It also reduced migraine frequency more than preventative treatments, but these results were sometimes not sustained over time.

However, other studies have yielded mixed results, prompting many to believe that the positive response to acupuncture may be due to a placebo effect. One three-group randomized controlled trial conducted between April 2002 and January 2003 in Germany found that acupuncture was no more effective than sham or simulated acupuncture at reducing the frequency or severity of migraine headaches.

In another clinical trial published in The Lancet Neurology, investigators assigned patients to three random groups as well: verum (true) acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and classic migraine therapy. Their results showed that patient’s outcomes were no different between groups, hinting at a potential placebo effect across groups.

Even though more research is needed to clarify whether or not there is a confounding placebo effect, evidence suggests that acupuncture can be a useful addition to a migraineur’s toolkit looking to reduce the frequency of his or her attacks. So, while acupuncture is not a miracle treatment, when used in combination with other therapies such as dietary supplements, a healthy diet, trigger diaries, and abortive medications, this minimally-invasive procedure can help control your migraine symptoms and keep attacks at bay.

 

JUNE is Migraine Awareness Month…Children Get Recurring Migraines Too! Pediatric Migraine Facts

June 1st, 2020

Children's MigreLief Prevention
Many people don’t know that children also get migraines. Every day millions of parents watch helplessly as their children suffer from debilitating migraine attacks.

Migraines in children often go undiagnosed because unlike adults, children cannot easily communicate to their parents or physicians just what type of symptoms they’re experiencing.

Many times they’re too young to articulate what they’re feeling so migraines go untreated for a long time. In many cases crying, lack of focus and symptoms of depression are attributed to things other than the actual problem.

Fortunately children who suffer chronic migraines are great candidates for nutritional options for maintaining healthy cerebrovascular tone and function (blood vessels in the brain) as well as healthy mitochondrial energy reserves (the powerhouse of brain cells

CHILDREN’S MIGRAINES SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED

Migraines interfere with all aspects of a child’s life, cause permanent changes in the brain, and can lead to increased risk of depression. Because it can be difficult for children to convince their parents or teachers that they are really sick, their attendance in school and academic achievement may suffer making it difficult to catch up and adding more undue stress to their lives.

PEDIATRIC MIGRAINE FACTS:

– A migraine is a type of severe, incapacitating headache that can strike suddenly and often with accompanying symptoms of nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. They are often recurrent.

– About one out of every 10 kids, or nearly 8 million children in the United States alone are plagued by what has become the most common acute and recurrent headache pattern experienced by children today.

– A child who has one parent with migraine has a 50% chance of inheriting it, and if both parents have migraine, the chances rise to 75%.

-Migraines may occur with or without aura and last in children from 30 minutes to 48 hours. (Migraine aura is the collective name given to the many types of neurological symptoms that may occur just before or during a migraine such as visual, sensory, motor or verbal disturbance.)

– Common precursors and symptoms of child migraine; cyclical vomiting, abdominal migraine pain, vertigo, and sensitivity to light.

-About 10% of school-age children suffer from migraine, and up to 28% of adolescents between the ages of 15-19 are affected by it.

-Half of all migraine sufferers have their first attach before the age of 12.

-Migraine as been reported in children as young as 18 months. Recently, infant colic was found to be associated with childhood migraine and may even be an early form of migraine.

-Migraines are more common in boys than girls until girls begin menstruation

– Migraine in children can differ from migraine in adults. Non-headache and neurological symptoms (aura) may be more prominent than the headache.

– Child Migraine is often under-diagnosed by doctors, possibly due to the prominence of non-headache symptoms

The Four Stages of Migraine Headaches

Migraines often progress through four stages. Your child may or may not have all four stages. And the stages may not be the same every time a migraine occurs.

  • Prodrome: In this early stage, your child may feel tired, uneasy, or moody. It may be hours or days before the headache pain begins.
  • Aura: Up to an hour before a migraine, your child may experience an aura (odd smells, sights, or sounds). This may include flashing lights, blind spots, other vision problems, confusion, or trouble speaking.
  • Headache: Your child has pain in one or both sides of the head. Your child may feel nauseated and have a strong sensitivity to light, sound, and odors. Vomiting and/or diarrhea may also occur. This stage can last anywhere from 48-72 hours.
  • Postdrome or recovery: For about a day after the headache ends, your child may feel tired, achy, and exhausted.

What Causes Migraine Headaches?

It is not clear why migraines occur. If a family member has migraines, your child may be more likely to have them. Many people find that their migraines are set off by a “trigger.”
Common migraine triggers include:

  • -Chemicals in certain foods and drinks, such as aged cheeses, luncheon meats, chocolate, coffee, sodas, foods containing MSG. etc.
  • -Chemicals in the air, such as tobacco smoke, perfume, glue, paint, or cleaning products
  • -Dehydration
  • -Not enough sleep
  • -Hormonal changes in the body during puberty
  • -Environmental factors, such as bright or flashing lights, hot sun, weather or air pressure changes

What Are the Symptoms of Migraine Headaches?

Your child may have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • -Pain, often severe, occurring in a specific area of the head (such as behind one eye)
  • -Aura (odd smells, sights, or sounds)
  • -Nausea and/or vomiting, or diarrhea
  • -Sensitivity to light or sound

How Are Migraine Headaches Prevented and Treated?

Call your child’s health care provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever and stiff neck with a headache
  • In a child of any age who has a temperature of 103°F (39.4°C) or higher
  • A fever that lasts more than 24-hours in a child under 2 years old, or for 3 days in a child 2 years or older
  • A seizure caused by the fever
  • Headache pain that seems different or much worse than previous episodes
  • Headache upon awakening or in the middle of the night
  • Dizziness, clumsiness, or other changes with a headache
  • Migraines that happen more than once a week or suddenly increase in frequency
  • For any reason if you are concerned about your child’s health.

Nutritional Options

Researchers are discovering “migraines beget migraines” – the more migraines one has, the greater the tendency for future migraines. Evidence shows an increased sensitivity after each successive attack, eventually leading to chronic daily migraines in some individuals. In order to avoid a lifetime of migraines, it is imperative to lower the frequency and intensity of migraines as soon as possible.

Why Children’s MigreLief should by your first choice:

Comprehensive Support for Neurological Health with a Proven Track Record

Formulated to provide nutritional support to migraine sufferers, MigreLief has been recommended and used by countless migraine sufferers for over 2 decades.

MigreLief comes in 3 daily formulas:

  • MigreLief Original (teens and adults)
  • Children’s MigreLief (age 2-12)
  • MigreLief+M for women or menstruating teens who know their migraines are hormonally related and occur just before, after or during menstruation each month.Fast-Acting Formula:
  • MigreLief-NOW (on-the-spot neurological comfort) to be taken as needed.

MigreLief Benefits

-Safe, gentle and effective for children over the age of 2

-Two international patents have been granted the unique MigreLief formulation

-Recommended by pediatric neurologists

-NO harmful side-effect

-MigreLief’s Triple Therapy™ Ingredients: a vitamin, a mineral, and an herb (Magnesium, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2) and a proprietary form of the herb Feverfew, have been proven beneficial to migraine sufferers in clinical studies

-All 3 ingredients are listed in The American Academy of Neurology’s Guidelines for Migraine Prevention.

-Taken daily as a dietary supplement

-Maintains healthy cerebrovascular (blood vessels in the brain) tone and function your child has on migraine free days

-Helps maintain healthy mitochondrial energy reserves (the powerhouse of brain cells)

-Used by thousands of children worldwide and hundreds of thousands of adults.

Note:  For children who have difficulty swallowing pills of any size, MigreLief or Children’s MigreLief may be crushed and mixed with food such as applesauce, yogurt etc. for easier swallowing.
Fast-acting MigreLief-NOW comes in capsule form and may be opened and sprinkled on food for easier swallowing as well.

Because the “daily” migrelief formulas have a build up period for up to 3 months for maximum effectiveness, we suggest keeping MigreLief-NOW (the as-needed formula) on hand and take for on-the-spot neurological comfort.

MIGRELIEF WORKS FOR YOU OR YOUR MONEY BACK

Try a MigreLief daily formula risk-free for 3 months (sufficient time for it to build in your system and do it’s job).  You should notice it growing in effectiveness.  If you are not satisfied with your results for any reason at the end of 3 months, we will return 100% of your purchase price, if purchased at MigreLief.com

ENJOY COUPON CODE:  SAVE20 FOR 20% OFF YOUR ORDER SITE-WIDE AT MIGRELIEF.COM

 

Vestibular Migraine – Migraine with Vestibular Symptoms

May 15th, 2020

What are vestibular migraines?

The term “vestibular migraine” is not a real medical classification. A more accurate description would be a migraine with vestibular symptoms.

The vestibular system in the inner ear, is one that maintains balance and equilibrium. Therefore vestibular symptoms are dizziness, vertigo (a sense of spinning or motion when at rest), or loss of balance and disequilibrium.

Basilar migraines can also present with vertigo and tinnitus. Menieres disease (a condition with similar symptoms) is often diagnosed when in fact the patient my be experiencing migraines with symptoms of vestibular disorder. It is known that people with migraines are more apt to experience Menieres and vice versa.

Up to 40 percent of migraine sufferers experience vestibular symptoms, a migraine ‘side effect’ that can make you feel like the room is spinning around you or cause severe dizzy spells that may leave you unable to get up from your bed.

Almost everybody has had a headache before, but when they happen too frequently, it can be a sign of a bigger disorder. One of the most common types of headache disorder is migraine, which affects over 12 percent of the population regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity.

Migraine headaches are characterized by severe pain (usually in one side of the head), but many people experience other symptoms like an upset stomach, light and sound sensitivity, fatigue, and more. There are also several subtypes of migraines, sometimes called syndromes, which may have their own set of signs and symptoms that often need to be treated separately.

Vestibular migraines are a migraine subtype that causes episodes of vertigo, dizziness, light-headedness, and more. While this syndrome seems to be fairly common among migraineurs – some experts estimate that up to 40 percent of migraine sufferers have vestibular symptoms – it is significantly underdiagnosed. In fact, one research study conducted at a Center for Vertigo and Balance Disorders in Switzerland found that even though doctors had initially suspected vestibular migraines in only 1.8% of their young patients, 20% of patients were eventually diagnosed with this type of migraine.

What causes vestibular migraines?

Experts aren’t completely sure what causes vestibular migraines. Like most headache disorders, vestibular migraines seem to run in families, though that’s not always the case. Many of the same risk factors that trigger migraines can also set off a vestibular migraine, including:

  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Hormonal changes
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Certain foods and drinks like caffeine, red wine, aged cheese, monosodium glutamate (MSG), etc.

The term ‘vestibular’ stems from the word vestibule, which is the central part of the bonny labyrinth in the inner ear. Together with a structure called the semicircular canal, the vestibular system helps control your sense of balance and eye movements. Non-migraine related vestibular disorders can happen as a result of infections, head trauma, aging, and genetic or environmental factors.

Vestibular migraine symptoms

Vestibular symptoms can happen before, during, or after a migraine, though most migraineurs report experiencing these types of symptoms without headaches. The main symptoms of vestibular migraines are vertigo – a sensation of spinning or losing your balance even if you are not moving – and dizziness that lasts more than a few seconds.

Other symptoms of vestibular migraines include feelings of disorientation, confusion, motion sickness when you move your head, eyes or body, light-headedness, and nausea or vomiting. If you have a vestibular episode during a migraine attack, you may also experience classic migraine symptoms like throbbing or pulsating pain in one side of your head, blurry vision, photosensitivity, neck pain, etc.

How are vestibular migraines diagnosed?

Currently, there are no laboratory or imaging tests that can diagnose vestibular migraine. The International Headache Society (IHS), in collaboration with other medical associations, developed a set of diagnostic criteria to help clinicians diagnose and treat this type of migraine. Among other factors, the criteria are based on the patient’s migraine history as well as the frequency and duration of vestibular symptoms.

Before diagnosing you with vestibular migraine, your doctor may want to rule out other vestibular disorders, like:

  • Benning paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis)
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Acoustic neuroma

How are vestibular migraines treated?

Because there is no specific medication that can treat vestibular migraines, doctors usually recommend a combination of abortive migraine medications and drugs used to treat vertigo and other vestibular disorders.

You can reduce the frequency and intensity of your vestibular migraines by eating a healthy diet, keeping good sleeping hygiene, tracking and avoiding your triggers, and managing your stress. For the best nutritional support beneficial to migraine sufferers, try the dietary supplement  Migrelief available in daily and as-need formulas for adults and children age 2+.

 

Phases of Migraine Explained – Techniques to Outsmart Your Migraine Headache

January 30th, 2020

PREDICTING A MIGRAINE

There are 4 distinct phases to a migraine: Prodrome, Aura, Pain and Postdrome.  Not everyone experience all 4 stages of a migraine.  It is during the first two phases (prodromal and aura) that you get hints that a migraine is coming, and recognizing these hints (symptoms) may give you the edge you need to fight back and either prevent the migraine entirely or decrease the severity and or duration of the pain phase (which is obviously the most debilitating and problematic).

These symptoms, called the prodrome phase, are usually considered ‘warning signs’ that alert the person of an impending migraine episode.

Stage 1 – The Prodrome  – About 65% of migraine sufferers experience emotional or physical symptoms two hours to two days before the pain phase starts.

These symptoms can occur in migraineurs with and without aura.

  • Fatigue
  • Yawning
  • Appetite changes
  • Altered mood – depression
  • Aphasia (trouble speaking/comprehending words)
  • Muscle Stiffness – especially in the neck
  • Appetite changes
  • Digestive changes – (some sufferers vomit up food they ate quite a while ago)
  • Irritability
  • Euphoria
  • Food cravings
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Sensitivity to odors, noise and light
  • Increased urination
  • Sleep disturbances

Physicians who specialize in migraine treatment find that only 30% of sufferers recognize that they have one or more of the “prodrome” symptoms until they are actually told what symptoms to look for. Once informed then up to 80% of sufferers report having one or more of them.

Stage 2 – The Aura – Less than half of migraine sufferers experience the aura stage, neurological symptoms marked by sensory disturbances. Most aura’s are visual, but speaech, hearing or motor abilities can be affected as well.  During this stage, about one-third of patients see flashing lights, wavy lines and blind spots in their field of vision (called scotoma) for a few minutes to a few hours before the pain stage begins. Some also have temporary trouble speaking or feel tingling or numbness on one side of the face or feet called parathesias. Others may develop a hypersensitivity to touch.

Stage 3 – The Pain – Onset of pain can start within minutes or sometimes hours of the commencement of the aura stage. The migraine or headache phase is marked by throbbing or pulsating pain – typically on one side of the head – though it can become so intense that many people feel it in and around the entire head and face. This phase can last up to 72 hours, and the pain intensity varies from mild to excruciating. Besides head pain, other symptoms during this phase can include:

• Nausea or vomiting
• Anxiety
• Insomnia
• Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
• Sensitivity to sound (phonophobia)
• Sensitivity to smell and touch
• Temporary loss of vision (ocular migraines)
• Dizziness and vertigo

Stage 4 – The Postdrome –  During this stage of migraine, even though the pain is gone, some sufferers can feel exhausted, depressed and/or, residual neck pain.  Some people refer to this as the “migraine hangover.” More than 1 in 8 migraine sufferers experience a postdrome. This stage usually starts the day after the migraine and lasts a day or less. Some symptoms may include:

• Fatigue
• Trouble concentrating
• Neck stiffness
• Muscle aches
• Malaise
• Mild headache

What to try when you notice any of the symptoms in either the “prodrome” or “aura” phases-

If you haven’t realized it already, it is advantageous to experience either or both of these stages because they can both serve as a type of “advanced warning” system that a migraine is imminent.

It is to your advantage to try to address preventing your migraine as early as possible, so focus on the 13 symptoms listed in the prodromal section.

If you don’t experience any of these, but do experience the symptoms listed in the “aura” section, then that’s when you can start trying the following techniques to prevent your migraine from occurring:

TECHNIQUES TO TRY BEFORE THE PAIN SETS IN:

(None of these techniques work for everybody. You will need to experiment to see which of them help you the most.)

1-   H2O – Drink plenty of room temperature water to make sure you are well hydrated.

2-  EAT  Slow Release Carbohydrates  such as a banana, crackers, toast or pinto beans

3-  BREATHE  – If you feel stressed, try meditating if you know how, or try these breathing exercises:

Stress Reducing-Breathing:
The depth and rate of our breathing respectively decrease and increase when we are stressed. This can deplete oxygen flow to the body and the brain. Please do this breathing exercise exactly as it is described at least 3 times a day:

Blow your breath out through your mouth and then seal your lips. Breathe in slowly through your nose for 10 seconds while expanding your chest. Hold it for 30 seconds while trying to think about “nothing”.

At the end of 30 seconds then slowly expel the breath you were holding, through your lips over a 15 second interval. Notice how your entire body relaxes throughout this breathing exercise especially during the exhalation segment.

Repeat this sequence at least 3 times in a row, working yourself up do doing it 5X in a row, three times a day.

Perhaps have someone massage you (if massage relaxes you.) Try taking a warm (not hot or cold) bath.

4-  REST – Lie down away from noise, light or any known trigger factors

5-  ESSENTIAL OILS – Try applying essential oils of peppermint or lavender to your temples, forehead and or neck, for a tingling/cooling sensation and aromatherapy effect. The MigreLief Migraine Stick roll-on is a convenient combination of soothing essential oils; Peppermint, Lavender, Spearmint and Rosemary in a Jojoba oil base.

6-   IBUPROFEN – I am hesitant to suggest you consider taking any OTC or prescription medicines for pain based upon the symptoms of the prodrome phase because I don’t want people to medicate unnecessarily. (If you are pretty sure that one of the prodrome symptoms is a reliable indication that you are going to get a migraine, that would be an exception).  But I do suggest trying either of these medications if you experience the symptoms of the aura phase.  (Of course you should confirm that it is OK taking any medication with your physician.)

7-  DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS – Certain vitamins, minerals and herbs promote a healthy inflammatory response, help reduce blood platelet aggregation, relax blood vessels and help with cells’ energy production thus addressing the dysfunctional processes in the brain before and during a migraine attack.  They include, ginger, feverfew, magnesium and boswellia serrata.  A dietary supplement that contains all four of these ingredients is MigreLief-NOW, as-needed nutritional support for on-the-spot neurological comfort.

8-   GET OFF THE COMPUTER – Stop working on your computer.  The flickering or flashing lights of a computer screen is a trigger to some migraine sufferers.

9-   WALK –  If it’s not too hot or cold, get out and take a walk at a moderate pace for 10 minutes.

Please remember that none of the above suggestions works for everyone. You will have to experiment to see if one or more of these techniques works for you.

To the Best of Health,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Akeso Health Sciences

 

Quinoa – Amazing Superfood for Migraine Sufferers

January 29th, 2020

This amazing low-fat, high protein food could…

* protect against heart disease
* help to prevent type II diabetes
* help with migraines
* provide antioxidant protection
* Protect against breast cancer
*Protect against childhood asthma
* Prevent gallstones
* Provide all 9 essential amino acid (protein building blocks)
* Provide healthy levels of dietary fiber and magnesium

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is an ancient whole grain that has been recently rediscovered in the U.S.  The Inca’s once held the crop to be sacred, calling it the ‘mother of all grains’.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2  percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice and 14 percent for wheat.  Unlike rice and potatoes, for which quinoa is an excellent replacement, it is a whole grain food source which results in many of the health benefits listed above.  Quinoa is gluten-free and high in protein content, which also makes it a wonderful choice for vegetarians.  Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s long-duration manned spaceflights.

QUINOA NUTRIENT PROFILE

High nutritional content of 100gms or half cup of cooked quinoa –

Magnesium: 17% of the Recommended Daily Allowance
Complete Protein: 4 grams
Fiber: 3 grams.
Manganese: 32% of Recommended Daily Allowance
Phosphorus: 15% of the Recommended Daily Allowance

It is also packed with minerals like Zinc, Iron, Copper, and Potassium along with B-Vitamins and Calcium. These tiny grains are also good for weight watchers offering a total of 120 calories, 21 gms of carbs and 2 gms of fat. Quinoa is also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

MIGRAINE SUPPORT

Quinoa is a good source of magnesium and riboflavin, which are also key ingredients in MigreLief dietary supplements.  These ingredients have been shown to help relax blood vessels, encourage energy production within cells and help to maintain normal cerebrovascular tone and function.  Magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. Studies show that many migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium. Studies have also shown that many migraine sufferers have  a deficiency in mitochondrial (powerhouse in cells) energy right before an attack.  Mitochondrial dysfunction in your brain cells can make you more susceptible to migraines which studies show vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin) can help correct.

DIET

Both the glycemic index and the glycemic load of quinoa (these are measurements of how various foods can impact your blood sugar levels) are favorable as well, when compared to rice or potatoes.

A half cup of cooked quinoa contains only about 110 calories and with its fiber content makes it a good choice for those trying to watch their weight, as well

HOW TO COOK WITH QUINOA

Quinoa is typically simmered, as you would prepare rice. It’s often added to savory recipes, like salads, sautés, and soups. You can also serve it alongside grilled or pan-seared meats and fish.

When whole, quinoa seeds have an outer husk coated with a natural substance called saponin. This protects the seeds from the birds. While the husk is already removed when you buy commercial quinoa, some of the saponin can remain. It’s rather bitter, so it’s important to rinse the quinoa well before simmering it.

Some Serving Ideas for Quinoa:

* Use quinoa as a side-dish replacing rice, potatoes or even pasta

* Many health food stores carry quinoa sourced pasta noodles

* With nuts and fruits, quinoa makes an excellent porridge

* Quinoa can be added to vegetable soups

* Use sprouted quinoa in sandwiches or salads instead of alfalfa sprouts

 

RECIPE – SWEET BREAKFAST QUINOA PORRIDGE

Quinoa Porridge with fruit

When slowly cooked in a mixture of water and milk with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, quinoa seeds become a rich porridge with a soft bite. If you’re a quinoa fan, it’s a lovely alternative to oatmeal in the morning.

You can easily adapt this breakfast quinoa to your personal tastes and dietary needs. For a softer rather than chewy quinoa, especially this sweet breakfast dish, adjust the seed-to-liquid ratio (add more liquid) until you find the perfect texture for you.

For a non-dairy breakfast, quinoa porridge is also delicious prepared with almond milk or coconut milk


Ingredients

1 cup water
1-1/2 cups milk (whole, low fat, almond, or coconut), plus more for serving
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup quinoa , rinsed well
pinch salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar , plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup blueberries (or berries of your choice)
sliced almonds, walnuts or chopped toasted pecans , for topping

Instructions
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water, 1-1/2 cups milk, vanilla extract or paste, rinsed quinoa, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (stirring occasionally and watching carefully so it doesn’t boil over).
Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly vented, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 3 tablespoons brown sugar and the ground cinnamon. Re-cover and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and gently fold in blueberries. Serve, topped with extra brown sugar or maple syrup, warm milk, and nuts.

Enjoy quinoa for its taste and texture as well as its multiple health benefits.  You will be very pleasantly surprised and pleased to add it to your family’s diet.

~

 

 

 

 

Menstrual Migraines are More Severe, Last Longer and are More Resistant to Treatment

January 1st, 2020

MENSTRUAL MIGRAINES CAN BECOME CHRONIC MIGRAINES 

Menstrual migraines that occur only monthly can progress into chronic migraines.  Researchers are discovering that migraines beget migraines, the more you have the more you will tend to get. They are not sure why but suspect the brain goes into a state of hypersensitivity, making prevention- key.

Menstrual migraines are fueled by the drop in estrogen levels just prior to menstruation. True “Menstrual Migraines” occur at the time of menstruation.  “Menstrually Related Migraines” occur throughout the menstrual cycle.  Menstrual migraines are now considered a separate disorder from other types of migraine.

Menstrual migraines are difficult to control.  Approximately 1 in 7 adults have migraines, but women are three times more likely to be affected than men and 60% to 70% report a menstrual relationship to their migraine attacks.  Menstrual related migraine attacks are often more severe, last significantly longer, and are more resistant to treatment than the usual non-menstrual migraine attacks.

Menstrual Migraine Help

 

According to a study published in the medical journal, Cephalalgia:

  • > On average, a menstrual migraine lasted 23.4 hours vs 16.1 hours for non-menstrual migraines.
  • > Menstrual migraines cause more disability and inability to function in daily tasks than non-menstrual migraines
  • > Medications to treat the pain of migraines were 50% less effective when used to treat menstrual migraines.
  • > Even when the pain medication did work, the risk of the menstrual migraine reoccurring was much more likely.

The authors of the study concluded by saying – “Menstrual migraines may require a treatment approach different from that of non-menstrual migraines.”

Other literature indicates only 13.5% of sufferers are pain-free after 2 hours compared to 32.9% of non-menstrual migraine attacks.  This indicates that 86.5% of menstrual migraine sufferers and 67.1% of non-menstrual migraine sufferers do not achieve complete relief from debilitating migraine pain after 2 hours.

The “Terrible Twosome” of Hormonal Fluctuations and Insulin Resistance Can Wreak Havoc on a Woman’s Over-All Health and Cause Symptoms of PMS, PCOS and Menstrual Migraines

Insulin resistance is the body’s inability to respond well to insulin, which controls blood sugar levels and can lead to Type II diabetes, abdominal weight gain and migraines.  High insulin levels due to insulin resistance increase the production of the male hormone, testosterone. High testosterone levels cause symptoms such as body hair growth, acne, irregular periods and weight gain (all of these are PCOS symptoms).

There is a Direct Relationship between Hormones and Migraines

Headaches in women, particularly migraines, have been related to changes in the levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone before, during and after a woman’s menstrual cycle. Estrogen, progesterone and even testosterone levels can fluctuate significantly a few days before and after menstruation leading to migraines and causing symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) such as:

PMS Symptoms:

  • » Menstrual migraines
  • » Anxiety
  • » Overeating
  • » Breast Swelling
  • » Weight Gain
  • » Bloating
  • » Irritability & Mood Swings|
  • » Abdominal and Pelvic Cramps
  • » Fatigue
  • » Headaches
  • » Changes in Libido
  • » Depression
  • » Insomnia
  • » Acne
  • » Hives

 

PCOS Symptoms:

  • » Hair loss: similar to male pattern baldness
  • » Obesity and inability to lose weight
  • » Acne

Menopause and Migraines

Migraine headaches can severely affect women undergoing the changes of menopause.  Statistics indicate that migraines in women tend to increase during the approach to menopause and during menopause; however, they tend to decrease or go away after menopause.  It is also known that some women who have never had migraines develop them as they enter the period before (pre and peri-menopause) and during menopause.

Nutritional Support for Women with Hormonal Migraines

Key nutritional supplements have been proven beneficial for migraines sufferers.  A great, drug free option for women suffering menstrual/hormonal migraines is Akeso Health Science’s MigreLief+M.

In addition to the 3 popular ‘Triple Therapy” ingredients in Original MigreLief,  MigreLief+M contains 5 additional ingredients that have been shown to not only balance blood sugar swings and the hormonal fluctuations that lead to menstrual migraines, but to also significantly decrease PMS and PCOS symptoms.http://migrelief.wpengine.com/migreliefm

Ingredients: (2 caplets contain)

Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2, 400 mg/day)*

Puracol Feverfew (100 mg/day)*

Magnesium (citrate/oxide, 360mg/day)*

Chasteberry extract (175 mg/day)

L-Theanine (100 mg/day)

D-Biotin (15 mg/day)

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (vitamin B-6, 100 mg/day)

Chromium Picolinate (1,000 mcg/day)

*Riboflavin, feverfew and magnesium are listed in the American Academy of Neurology’s Guidelines for Migraine Prevention (Detailed Ingredients Description)

MigreLief Making a Difference for Over 2 Decades

The “MigreLief Nutritional Regimen for Menstrual Migraine Sufferers” consists of taking MigreLief+M daily and fast-acting MigreLief-NOW “as-needed.”  Until MigreLief+M, no one product was available to address both hormonal and blood sugar fluctuation, migraines and other symptoms associated with a woman’s hormones or menstrual cycle.

If  unsure about  migraine triggers, keep a migraine diary/trigger tracker to determine the presence of menstrual migraines  and note occurrence in relation to menstrual cycle , severity, and response to usual  treatment.

MigreLief supplements have been changing the lives of migraine sufferers  for over 2 decades.  All MigreLief supplement were formulated by scientist Curt Hendrix .  Curt holds advanced degrees in chemistry and clinical nutrition, and has dedicated his life to the research and development of innovative natural medicines. Curt’s research in the field of neurological disorders has resulted in grants from the US government’s National Institutes of Health where he was the principal scientific investigator for studying natural compounds for Alzheimer’s disease.  Curt also holds many U.S. patents, including  leading-edge effective nutritional formulas for migraine sufferers.

To the Best of Health,

The MigreLief Team at Akeso Health Sciences

Learn more about MigreLief+M!

SAVE 20% at MigreLief.com on All MigreLief Supplement and All New “Sleep All Night” natural sleep aide.
PROMO CODE:  SAVE20

 

 

 

What Are Essential Oils and Why is Everybody Using Them?

November 24th, 2019

What Are Essential Oils and Why is Everybody Using Them?

 

Over the past few years, essential oils have taken the alternative medicine market by storm. Available at pharmacies, grocery stores, yoga studios, and everything in between – these little vials of concentrated aromas have hundreds of thousands of people sniffing their way into wellness and relaxation.

But contrary to popular belief, essential oils are not a recent discovery. Humans have used distilled botanicals for a variety of purposes for thousands of years. In fact, the history of essential oils dates as far back as 5,000 years to Egypt.

Ancient Egyptians used essential oils for a variety of purposes that ranged from embalming mummies to cosmetic and healing practices. The modern term “aromatherapy” was used for the first time in the early 1900s by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French cosmetic chemist known for his essential oil research. Nowadays, we know that botanical oils can help treat skin conditions, inflammation, stress, and much more.

What Are Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical extracts. To make them, the most aromatic part – which varies depending on the type of plant – is extracted through pressing or steaming mechanisms. Often, it takes several pounds of a single plant to make one essential oil bottle, which means that these liquids are incredibly potent.

People often use essential oils in one of two ways: inhaled or applied to the skin topically. Because oils release scent molecules, they travel through the nose to the brain, triggering emotional responses from the amygdala. Depending on the plant, diluted essential oils may help reduce inflammation, promote overall comfort, and help with relaxation.

What Are the Benefits of Essential Oils

Because these concentrated plant extracts are rich in chemical compounds, many essential oils can serve different purposes. Here are three proven benefits of essential oils:

Improved Mood

When you inhale an essential oil, thousands of microscopic scent molecules dispersed around the air enter your nose and travel directly to your brain. Once in the brain, they reach the amygdala – an almond-shaped collection of neurons tucked deep inside the temporal lobe.

The amygdala is known as the emotional processing center of the body. It plays a vital role in our emotional perception, stimuli reaction, and more. Because we tie pleasant smells with positive emotions, when essential oils stimulate the amygdala, our mood tends to improve, and we experience more positive emotions.

Oils that have been observed to be particularly useful at improving mood and boosting energy include:

 

  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger root
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Thyme
  • Wild orange

 

Sleep and Relaxation

Because smell is so closely related to the way that we feel, inhaling soothing scents can facilitate restful sleep. Though there are numerous sleep-inducing oils, several studies point at lavender oil as the most beneficial essential oil for sleep. For example, one study found that lavender oil lengthened REM sleep while another one showed that lavender oil could also help manage anxiety.

Other essential oils that help fall asleep and reduce stress:

 

  • Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Geranium
  • Sandalwood
  • Frankincense
  • Clary sage
  • Valerian
  • Bergamot

Boosting Immunity

As cold and flu season approaches, essential oils can be a helpful immunity booster and protect against viruses. Most essential oils are antiseptic, which means that they can help protect against disease-causing microorganisms to some degree, and others are even antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. For example, garlic essential oil can fight off viruses and bacteria, and eucalyptus oil is a natural alternative for colds and congestion.

Best Essential Oils for Migraine Sufferers

Many people who have migraines or frequent headaches look for alternative, drug-free treatments to manage their symptoms to avoid side effects such as rebound headaches or stomach problems. Fortunately, nutritional supplements, yoga, mindfulness, and essential oils are fantastic drug-free alternatives.

The best way to use essential oils for migraines and headaches is by applying them to the skin, particularly around the temples, forehead or neck. When you apply essential oils to the skin, you get the benefits from both inhalation and topical relief.

A word of caution when applying essential oils to the skin: these extracts are extremely concentrated and potent, so a little goes a long way. On average, essential oils are up to 70 times stronger than dried herbs – for example, a single drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea (which is a physician-recommended natural remedy for migraines)! Applied on their own, essential oils can trigger allergic reactions or irritate the skin.

The safest options to address migraines and headaches with essential oils are either diluting oils in a base (a plant or vegetable-based oil that helps carry the substance) or purchasing a pre-made migraine stick or roll-on. Essential oil migraine roll-ons are convenient and effective because they come with a mixture of the most effective essential oils for headaches, and are already diluted in a safe, non-irritating base  oil.

Peppermint

Peppermint has been used for thousands of years as an alternative remedy for numerous ailments, including gastrointestinal issues and headaches. Studies have shown that menthol, the main organic compound found in mint, can relieve tension and provide a temporary cooling sensation that soothes pain.

A research study that analyzed more than 140 headache attacks found that patients that applied peppermint essential oil on their foreheads and took a pain reliever reduced their pain significantly faster than those who didn’t use peppermint.

Another study showed that in comparison to a placebo, those who applied a topical solution of peppermint oil were able to stay pain-free longer, reduce their pain faster, and were more successful at relieving nausea and vomiting.

Lavender

If there is a holy grail for essential oils, it has to be lavender. This versatile essential oil is derived from the plant Lavandula angustifolia, through the distillation (steaming) process. Typically, lavender oil is used for stress and anxiety, pain relief, and for sleeping.

Studies looking at the treatment of migraines with lavender essential oils have shown promising results. In a 2012 placebo-controlled clinical trial, researchers found that those who inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes reported fewer migraine attacks than those who sniffed a placebo substance.

Similarly, recent a randomized-controlled trial followed migraine sufferers for three months and divided them into two groups: one used lavender oil, and the other group was given a placebo. Their results showed that after three months, the participants who were asked to inhale lavender oil had fewer migraines than the control group.

Spearmint

Also part of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, spearmint is a perennial plant commonly used as a flavoring agent in candy, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Spearmint has many health benefits that range from soothing an upset stomach to killing some strains of oral bacteria.

Spearmint essential oil might help people with migraines because it can reduce stress and improve sleep – both known migraine triggers. Women who suffer hormonal-related headaches or migraines may also benefit from using spearmint essential oils. One research study revealed that just by taking two cups of spearmint tea per day, participants were able to improve their hormonal imbalances.

Rosemary

Rosemary is not just another herb you add to your chicken or your steak; it also is a popular natural medicine for indigestion problems like IBS and heartburn. When inhaled or applied to the skin rosemary essential oil can reduce pain, ease muscle tension, increase alertness, and support brain activity. Studies have also demonstrated that rosemary helps improve mood, reduce stress, and boost memory.

Akeso Health Sciences now offers a MIGRAINE STICK for migraine and headache sufferers containing 100% organic essential oils.

 


2 WAYS TO USE:

Keep your MigreLief Migraine Stick with you at all times, in your purse, briefcase, or backpack to roll on calming comfort.

SOOTHE & EASE: Use “as-needed” for immediate, on the spot neurological comfort and stress relief
INVIGORATE: Use throughout the day to feel refreshed and relaxed while inviting the pep back in your step.  Great before a workout or while studying.

HOW TO USE:  Shake gently.  Using the roll-on applicator, apply a small amount to the temples and forehead using a circular motion, avoiding the eyes.  May also be applied to the back of the neck or shoulders for extra cooling and relaxation of muscle tension.  For additional aromatherapy benefits, hold roller top one inch beneath nose and breathe deeply for several minutes.

BENEFITS AT A GLANCE
Promotes:

Neurological comfort and ease
Overall feelings of well-being
Calm and relaxation
Rejuvenated senses
Refreshed & invigorated mind and body
Stress relief
Eases muscle tension

OTHER KEY FEATURES

USDA 100% Organic
Easy to apply roll-on stick, (temples, forehead, back of neck)
Perfect for everyday use. Keep one in your  home, at work and in your car.
Convenient sized bottle, ideal for travel and ready to go
Dark amber bottle protects oils
GMO-free
No animal testing

 

More information or to purchase…  MigreLief Migraine Stick

 

 

Avoid Common Thanksgiving Migraine Triggers

November 24th, 2019

 

 

Common Thanksgiving Migraine Triggers and How to Avoid Them

It seems like only yesterday we were ringing in the new year, and now we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving and holiday season all over again!  Naturally, the last few months of the year should be filled with joy and happiness, with delicious food, family gatherings, and cozy weather reminding us of what’s really important in life.

But when you suffer from migraines, it’s easy to miss out on the fun. For migraineurs, many of the things that people love the most about the holidays – comfort food, scented candles, Christmas lights, etc. – can also set off a migraine attack.  The good news is that knowing what might trigger an attack can give you an upper hand against your migraines this holiday season.

There are four major migraine triggers to look out for during Thanksgiving:

Stress

Most migraine sufferers know that it’s not uncommon to get a headache at the end of a particularly tough day.  In fact, according to the American Headache Society, 4 out of 5 migraineurs recognize stress as a trigger.  Experts are still not entirely sure why stress triggers migraines. However, some hypothesize that it might have something to do with the hormones that the body secretes when it’s under stress.

If stress is a big trigger for you, it is essential to avoid taking on too many roles for Thanksgiving and make sure to ask for help. Cooking dinner for guests without help, volunteering to bring too many dishes to the party, or even traveling during the days leading up to Thanksgiving are all common stressors during the holidays.

Food & Drink Triggers

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that revolves around food – every November, people suddenly start craving turkey, gravy, and everything pumpkin spice. However, when you suffer from chronic migraines, it’s important to pay attention to what and how much you eat and drink.

Here are frequent migraine triggers that may be lurking on the Thanksgiving table this year:

Caffeine
Alcohol
Chocolate
Spicy foods
Cured meats
Aged cheese
Salt
Pickled foods

Weather Changes

Do your migraines usually occur at the same time each year? If they do, you might be sensitive to temperature and pressure changes. Weather and temperature affect everybody differently; in some people, certain barometric changes can cause chemical imbalances that affect how the brain responds to pain signals. In other cases, bright lights, extreme cold, and dryness or humidity can trigger or worsen migraines.

To avoid weather-related migraine attacks this Thanksgiving, keep an eye on the weather forecast so you’re not caught off-guard and can prepare ahead. For example, plan to stay indoors during extremely cold or windy days; drink plenty of water to keep your sinuses moisturized; and use warm clothing even if you’re going to be outside for a short time.

 

3 Tips – Getting Through Thanksgiving Migraine-Free

In addition to keeping an eye out for any potential triggers, these tips can help you stay migraine-free during Thanksgiving:

Remember Holidays Past

Did you get a pounding headache last Thanksgiving? Try to remember what you did, ate, and drank that day so you can avoid it this year. Maybe it was all that cheese you ate or the extra glass or two of wine that you had. Perhaps, you know that a family member’s perfume always triggers a migraine, in which case you can politely ask them to refrain from using it this year. Whatever the case may be, use last year’s (or the year before) pain to your advantage this year to plan ahead.

Delegate

If you are hosting this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, it is crucial to start delegating tasks early on. Asking friends and family members to bring along a food contribution will keep you from stressing out and potentially getting a migraine on the day of the dinner. Also, remember to ask for help whenever you need it. If you feel a migraine coming up, don’t be afraid to leave someone in charge and take a break before it turns into a full-blown attack.

Keep Your Medications Handy

Whether you’re traveling or spending Thanksgiving at home, stock up on your preventive and abortive migraine medications before Thanksgiving if you are running low. A daily nutritional supplement like MigreLief can be of great help during the holiday season; just choose one of the three MigreLief’s everyday formulas and take it twice per day for daily maintenance. You can also use MigreLief-NOW as an as-needed supplement when you need fast-acting support.

 

Wishing you a wonderful migraine-free Thanksgiving holiday!

 

Why Going to the Dentist May Help You Prevent Migraines

October 20th, 2019

 

Can you guess what’s the strongest muscle in the human body? Many muscles, including the tongue, the heart, and the gluteus maximus have been deemed the strongest muscles of the human body. But when it comes to sheer force there is one muscle that’s above all others: the masseter.

The masseter is a thick, flat muscle located in the cheeks, and it is part of what we call the “jaw muscles.” When the muscles of the jaw work together, they can close your back teeth (molars) with a force of up to 200 pounds and 95 pounds on the rest of your teeth. We use the jaw muscles every day to talk and chew.

But sometimes we clench our jaws involuntarily, exerting too much pressure in or around the face and temples. Bruxism is the abnormal and involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth that may occur during the day or at night while we sleep. Your dentist may diagnose you with bruxism during a regular dental check-up based on changes on your teeth.

Bruxism symptoms

Signs and symptoms that you have bruxism include:

Chipped or flattened teeth
Tight or locked jaw
Tooth sensitivity
Loud grinding noises
Sore gums
Headaches or migraines
Facial pain
Earache
Jaw popping
Facial spasms

Bruxism and migraines

Migraines are a type of chronic neurologic disorder that causes intense, debilitating pain. Though the exact cause is not fully understood, experts know that migraines can be triggered by factors such as stress, the weather, loud noises, some types of foods, etc. During a migraine attack, a person might experience daily bouts of pain that last up to a week.

Bruxism, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and toothaches have also been shown to trigger migraines in some individuals because they create tension around the head. In fact, a research study conducted in 2016 showed that migraine sufferers ground their teeth more – especially around the molar region – than those who didn’t suffer from migraines.

Treating bruxism

If you find yourself tensing your jaw, grinding your teeth, or you wake up with jaw pain, you might have bruxism or TMJ disorder. Untreated jaw disorders can wear down your teeth (attrition), aggravate migraines and cause tension headaches.

Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help prevent further tooth damage and ease the pressure off your jaw. Talk with your dentist to learn about the options available for bruxism and TMJ, including:

Mouthguards or splints: these are the best options if you are a night-time grinder because they keep the jaw in a rested position. Mouthguards can fit over your top or bottom teeth and their goal is to separate your top and bottom molars. Usually, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and then mold the mouthguard accordingly so it can be as comfortable as possible when you use it.

Self-massage: use your fingers to massage your jaw in a circular or downwards motion applying constant, gentle pressure. Alternatively, with your mouth open, use your hand to gently push one side of your jaw. Hold it for 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Medications: If your bruxism or TMJ is severe, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to help ease tension off the area. Botox injections have also been shown to be effective at temporarily reducing clenching and alleviating jaw pain.

My Migraines Keep Coming Back – The Insanity of Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH)

October 19th, 2019

WHEN THE MEDICATION YOU TURN TO FOR HELP…  TURNS ON YOU

You’ve probably heard it all before.  At least 30 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from migraine headaches;  75% are women.

For those who have chronic migraines (pain 15 days a month or more), the pain can be so debilitating that just waiting for it to go away, is not an option.  So those sufferers resort to either over the counter pain medications like Excedrin Migraine or prescription medications like Imitrex, or Zomig (called Triptans).

These types of medications work to varying degrees depending upon the person.  But, even when they work, all is not rosey.  Many people become so dependent upon these types of drugs in an attempt to get some relief, that without realizing it, they start using them more and more.  In fact, they start over-using them.  You may recognize this scenario in your own life.   A migraine develops that won’t go away and one of these drugs is administered. The current migraine either goes away or decreases in intensity to the point where it is manageable but a day or two later, another migraine occurs:  “The Rebound Headache.”

Of course the question needs to be asked, “Why would a person who originally starts out using them say, once a week, get to a point where he or she is actually using them several times a week?

The answers to this question, though not obvious when you are desperate and in pain, are very simple. Either the migraines are occurring more frequently, the migraines are more painful, or the drug isn’t working as well as it originally did.

Either way, which ever answer fits your particular situation, the prognosis is not good. Your migraines keep coming back and you find yourself reaching for these drugs even more because your problem is now worse…NOT better.

The responsible, occasional use of these kinds of drugs is not an issue.  They are safe and effective when used sparingly and serve a definite purpose. However, when over-used, a whole other bunch of risks come into play.

Dr. Fred Sheftell, a well known headache doctor, is upset and concerned that these medications contain no warnings on their labels. He states “There’s nothing that I know of where any of these products say anything about the genesis of rebound headaches and chronic daily headache…I’d like to see that.”

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in ABC news 20/20. It highlights just how complicated and even dangerous this dependence upon these drugs can become when people feel they have no other options to deal with their migraine pain.

A Vicious Cycle –Excerpted from ABC News 20/20

“Here’s how experts think rebound starts. Normally, when you take a pain reliever for an occasional headache, the medicine turns off pain receptors in the brain. But in a person prone to headaches — especially migraine headaches — pain relievers taken more than two to three days a week on a regular basis can make the pain receptors more sensitive than usual.

Consequently, as soon as the medicine wears off, these hyper-sensitive receptors turn on to produce a new headache. That leads the headache sufferer to take more medicine, which, in turn, leads to more headaches — a truly vicious cycle. Before long, most rebound patients are taking headache medicine every single day.

This vicious cycle nearly killed Eric Peterson, a 26-year-old veterinary student. But what will shock you is how little medicine it took to get him in trouble. Peterson’s problems started in high school with migraine headaches that hit him a couple of times a week.

“I think I started with an ibuprofen type. I wasn’t finding a tremendous amount of relief with that. I tried Excedrin and found that controlled things nicely for me,” Peterson said.

Daily Habit Can Trigger Serious Health Problems

Initially, Peterson was able to manage his headaches by taking two Excedrin just two to three times a week, but that was enough to lead to rebound headaches. Soon, Eric was taking the pain relievers every day, which was very bad for both his head and his stomach.

Peterson’s health problems became painfully clear last summer at a Chicago Cubs game. “We were walking up the stands to find our seats and I became very dizzy and light-headed and nearly passed out,” he said.

Years of taking Excedrin had eaten away at Peterson’s stomach lining. He was sitting in the stands slowly bleeding to death. Just four hours later Eric wound up in a hospital emergency room. Doctors were able to save his life, but they told him he could no longer take over-the-counter pain killers.

This was frightening news for Peterson, who had become so reliant on the pain relievers. He was more concerned about how he was going to manage his headaches than he was about the damage to his stomach. “I didn’t know how I was going to cope from day to day without having to be able to take that medication,” he said.

Stop the Medicine, Stop the Pain?

Duane Soderquist, 25 years ago, was in a situation very similar to Peterson’s. Soderquist said, “I think I had seven free headache days in 10 years.”

It was Soderquist’s case that caught the attention of Dr. Joel Saper, a neurologist and founder of the Michigan Head-Pain Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor. A pioneer in the treatment of rebound headaches, Dr. Saper said it was Soderquist who first opened his eyes to the fact that over-the-counter medications could imprison a brain in rebound headaches.

  • Soderquist had seen 20 doctors for his excruciating daily headaches. At that time, no one realized that his headaches were a result of the hyper-sensitive pain receptors in his brain turned on by the handfuls of over-the-counter medication he was taking every single day. Soderquist said he was taking about 50 tablets a day.
  • Dr. Saper hospitalized Soderquist, taking him off the medication. “I thought I was gonna die for three days,” Soderquist said. But then an amazing thing happened. Once the medication had cleared from Soderquist’s system, his headaches stopped — for the first time in 10 years. Dr. Saper said, “That’s when I learned the power and the potency of the rebound effect and the need to take people off those medicines.”
  • Today, Soderquist is virtually headache-free and enormously grateful to Dr. Saper. “The day I left and went home after not having a headache — there at the hospital, the last day — it was just like somebody took a house off my back,” Soderquist said.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the patients at Dr. Saper’s headache clinic are diagnosed with rebound headaches and each one takes the same first step: Stop the medicine.
  • Eric Peterson was actually able to detox at home, but he admits it was brutal. “For probably about three days I just had intolerable headaches. … It was probably the most miserable three days of my life,” he said.
  • But the payoff was worth it!  Eric is finally free from daily rebound headaches and he’s managing his occasional migraines with preventive medications and newer treatments like biofeedback.

Can You Get Hooked?

  • So, do these cases mean you could get hooked on the over-the-counter pain medicines you’re taking? It’s important to remember that if you’re taking these medicines for other problems, like arthritis, it’s usually OK. Rebound headaches can be triggered by the overuse of a wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • But if you’re starting to take medicines more frequently for headaches be careful. Also remember that migraines are the kind of headache most likely to lead to rebound.
  • Dr. Saper said it’s most important that frequent headache sufferers consult a physician. “If you’re using this medication more than two or three days per week on a regular basis,” Dr. Saper said, “talk to your doctor about the possibility of rebound headache.”

The Caffeine Connection

It is infuriating to think that products like Excedrin Migraine contain caffeine.  It is well known that caffeine is addictive.  People trying to wean off caffeine go through major symptoms of drug withdrawal, including more headaches.   Dr. Alex Mauskop director of the New York Headache Clinic stated that “Getting off caffeine is one of the best things that migraine sufferers can do to reduce the frequency of their headaches.”

Yet this is much easier said than done and the makers of these products know it!

Signs of Rebound Headaches (Medication Overuse Headaches/Recurring Migraines

If any of the following signs apply to you, you are probably experiencing Rebound/Medication Overuse Headaches and have probably realized by now, that spending the rest of  your life taking pain medications is NOT the answer.

•You suffer from headaches daily or every other day.

•Your pain intensifies about three hours after your last dose of medication.

•Your pain medications don’t work as well as they used to.

•You take more medication, but your headaches are worse.

•You rely on more pills, and you take them more often.

•You take medication even for mild headaches, and you often try to ward off a headache by using a medication.

•You take pain relievers three to four days a week, and you average more than three tablets per day. (This depends on the kind of medication you’re taking, so you’ll need your doctor’s advice.)

•Your pain runs the gamut from mild to moderate to horrible. Usually, the pain is a dull ache that you feel on both sides of your forehead and, sometimes, on the top or back of your head.

•Your headaches occur much more frequently.

To get your life back, it may be time to stop the insanity, take yourself off auto-pilot, break the cycle of misery and opt for prevention.  It is clearly the most logical and safest approach.   When I created the MigreLief nutritional supplement for migraine suffers over twenty years ago,  it was my firm belief that  addressing migraines before they start, is preferable to spending a lifetime treating the symptoms and risking undesirable or even dangerous side-effects.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Chief Scientific Officer, Akeso Health Sciences